Parenting is such an important and demanding job! We get many requests in the BMCM from parents for help with living out Easwaran’s program with their children, so we wanted to tell you about a new initiative that we organized in July. We hosted seven families at the BMCM Headquarters in Tomales, California for a two-day family program which focused on the practice of the eight points in a family context. We very much enjoyed hosting them – seeing so many eager faces and the quiet dedication of these families living out Easwaran’s teachings. And as you’ll see, the parents and the children loved the program, too.
In the mornings, the parents had special workshops to share tips and inspiration for deepening their meditation and supporting one another in living the eight points as a model for their family.
Give your children lofty ideals, and live them out yourselves. You are their first teachers.
The children also had special workshops. Led by members of the BMCM young adult community, the children spent time doing activities and crafts to explore how they could use the eight points in their own lives. Children explored nature at Ramagiri through a focus on one-pointed attention and slowing down, and made “mantram rocks” as a tangible reminder of the power of the mantram. Within the first hour, children who were meeting each other for the first time began forming friendships and deep bonds.
The BMCM Headquarters is also the location of Ramagiri Ashram, the BMCM’s residential spiritual community. It’s full of beautiful nature and wildlife, and the younger children squealed with delight at seeing their first rabbit or deer. All the children – from toddlers to teens – understood the spiritual quality of the Ashram right away too, and it drew out the best in them. When it came time to write the mantram together, there was pin-drop silence, and then when it was time for singing the mantram, the voices soared!
There was lots of time for the parents and children to spend time together in eight-point program activities. They worked in the garden, ate lunch together, and put on skits of the life of the Buddha – bringing the Buddha to life for all of us.
The families left with ideas and inspiration to try out new eight-point program strategies in their school, work, and home lives, and looking forward to meeting each other again next year. The BMCM staff left happy and fulfilled – and ready for a nap!
We’re pleased to offer the two-day family program again in 2017. The program is open to passage meditator parents who have taken part in an online family class and attended a BMCM retreat in Tomales, together with their children ages 0–18.
We’ll also be offering more online family programs in 2017, so stay tuned!
Here’s what two participants said:
"This program gave our family a precious opportunity to be at Ramagiri and participate in group activities with other families practicing eight points. During the program our children felt more connected with Sri Easwaran."
"As a longtime meditator, I had found great help via the online family program, but to actually be at the BMCM for a few days was absolutely wonderful. My children were able to work with the mantram, pick apples, absorb the beautiful atmosphere--and most important, make friends and have fun!! Without me even asking them, they both demanded to return next year!"